Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Facebook at Law Firms: Cannot be Banned

Legal Week reports that Allen & Overy implemented a ban on the use of Facebook at the firm. Due to the number of staff complaints they had to lift the ban.

Most interesting is that the the decision to lift the ban was made because Facebook has "business benefits as well as social uses." The story reports the A&O network on Facebook has 732 members. As of this posting, it has 932 members.

So, I tried to join the A&O Network to see what they are doing. But, you need to have a valid Allen & Overy email address to join the network. Their secret is safe from me for now.

I also found these groups besides the official Allen & Overy Network:
Then I also browsed through some network listings for the top 10 law firms in the AM Law 100 and found these:
  1. Skadden, Arps 379 Members
  2. Baker & McKenzie 728 Members
  3. Jones Day 286 Members
  4. Latham & Watkins 291 Members
  5. Sidely Austin 199 Members
  6. Mayer Browne No Network
  7. White & Case 370 Members
  8. Weil, Gotschal No Network
  9. Shearman & Sterling 225 members
  10. Kirkland & Ellis 192 Members
Eight of the largest law firms in the United States have a Facebook network. So I will continue to look for that business purpose for Facebook. [My Facebook Profile]

Thanks to Scott Gavin of the Enterprise 2.0 Evangelist pointed out this story and Tim Duckett pointed it out to him.

Scott points out these business purposes for Facebook on company time:
  • catching up with friends and family during a lunch break (we all spend more and more time at work, so this speaks to a work life balance benefit)
  • exploring who else in your organization has the same interests and connecting. Professional networking, but via the net.
  • sharing media and updates with colleagues such as photo’s and business travel plans
  • general exploration of how web2.0 can be supplemental to company goals


  1. A different legal use for Facebook was posted on newswire for 10-15-07

    Finding Treasures for Cases on Facebook
    The National Law Journal

    Lawyers are increasingly finding that social networking sites hold treasure chests of information for their cases. Armed with printouts from Facebook and MySpace, attorneys have used pictures and comments from such sites as powerful evidence in court, where judges are apt to admit it like other electronic evidence. In one such instance, firm partner Joan Malbrough said she helped secure shared custody for a client after finding his wife had posted sexually explicit comments on her boyfriend's MySpace page.
    Visit Legal Technology (you might need a subscription to view article)

  2. That's funny that they A&O banned Facebook but had to unban it due to complaints by their employees. I agree with Scott Gavin that Facebook is a great way to keep up with people. Ming Kwan of talks about it in this article as well:


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